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Tar Heels suspend DT Marvin Austin

Percentage of Opponents' Plays for Negative Yards

FBS Leaders, 2009 Season

North Carolina heads into its primetime matchup with LSU on Saturday (8 ET, ABC) without one of its best players. Head coach Butch Davis suspended defensive tackle Marvin Austin indefinitely, saying that Austin "has violated team rules and has neglected his responsibilities to the team." He was a 2nd-team All-ACC performer last season, and is on the 2010 Lombardi Award, Outland Award and Nagurski Trophy watch lists.

Austin was expected to lead the charge into LSU's backfield on Saturday, continuing the dominance that UNC's defense showed last season. In 2009, only one FBS team had a higher percentage of their opponents' plays go for negative yardage. Austin himself had four sacks, six tackles for loss, and six QB pressures last year.

Opponents' Conversion Percentage

3rd down and 6+ yards to go, 2009

Look for LSU to attack the Carolina defense on 1st and 2nd downs in an attempt to stay out of 3rd-and-long. North Carolina was 2nd in the country in opponents' 3rd-down conversion percentage when facing 3rd down and six or more yards to go. Three of the other teams in the top five finished the season ranked in the Top 25, including one that played for the BCS Championship.

Despite the suspension, Marvin Austin is in position to continue UNC's trend of producing quality NFL defensive linemen. Over the last 15 seasons, no team in the country has had more defensive linemen drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft. North Carolina has seen seven defensive linemen come off the board in the 1st round since 1996, and only Florida State has had as many.